Cops say they didn't push 75-year-old to the ground — but there's video
Images of police brutalizing demonstrators continue to surface as Americans take to the streets to protest racism and police violence.
A video released by a radio station in Buffalo, New York, on Thursday shows police officers in the city deliberately pushing a protester to the ground.
The protester, identified as 75-year-old longtime peace activist Martin Gugino, can be seen in the video falling to the ground and hitting his head, after which he lies still, with blood pooling on the pavement under his head.
Police officers are then seen walking past Gugino as he lies on the pavement.
Initially, a spokesman for the Buffalo Police issued a statement claiming that during a protest that had run past the city’s curfew, “one person was injured when he tripped & fell.”
Radio station WBFO said it posted the video in response to the statement.
Two Buffalo Police officers have been suspended without pay pending a review of the incident, one of a number of documented cases of police brutality against people who have taken to the streets to protest such violence.
In response to the suspensions, the entire Emergency Response Team, the police unit that was on the streets during the protest, resigned.
“Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders,” said John Evans, president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association.
The latest protests began after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes as Floyd repeated that he couldn’t breathe.
While the protests are mostly peaceful, some of the demonstrations have turned violent, with instances of looting, arson, and destruction of property.
The chaos has led state and local officials to deploy riot police and even the National Guard to restore order.
In Washington, D.C., military police on Monday tear-gassed peaceful protesters gathered outside the White House to clear the area for Donald Trump to stage a photo-op.
In Los Angeles, video surfaced this week of police shooting rubber bullets at teenagers gathered on the street.
In New York, police have been filmed beating and pepper-spraying peaceful protesters. One video shows a police car driving through a gathering of protesters in Brooklyn last week, hitting some of the demonstrators.
Democrats in Congress, spurred by the Congressional Black Caucus, are working on legislation aimed at reforming policing in the United States.
“The completely unwarranted use of force by police in front of Buffalo City Hall last night is a call to action for our city and country,” Rep. Brian Higgins, a Democrat who represents New York’s 26th Congressional District, which includes Buffalo, said in a statement. “Videos are exposing unchecked bad actors and the painful truth of what has been happening in our communities for too long.”
Said Higgins, “There is clearly much more work to do.”
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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